Wong Hoi Ho, Whitney
Radboud University, The Netherlands
Students from different universities in Hong Kong gathered for lunch. This was our first meetup, which was at a famous restaurant in the city center of Nijmegen. We shared our reasons for choosing the city and discussed about the food in the Netherlands. We found that the portion are normally larger here and hot drinks are usually served with a cookie.
Bicycles are the main form of transport in Nijmegen. I did not know how to ride a bike before coming here. However, I got my own bike and have been practicing hard, as I would like to experience Dutch culture. This is tough as the bikes here are too tall for my height (as shown in the photo). I will try my best to learn, even if it’s hard. Let’s look forward to my success in riding a bike!
During orientation week, we went to a restaurant & bar with mentor groups from our university. The Asian students were grouped together to discuss a performance that would represent Asia. We learnt about different cultures through this opportunity. We taught other Asian students a famous song from HK’s university orientation camp. We all performed this song along with a dance at the final performance. This was a great chance to experience cultural diversity.
I met three girls from Macau, Singapore and Thailand during an activity held by our host university. We played Dutch games and tried various Dutch traditional food offered by the organizer.
What I am holding is a cup of soup which tasted salty and sour. All of us come from different parts of Asia and we have various opinions about this soup – both positive and negative. It was such a great opportunity to learn about other countries’ food culture!
I went to Den Haag, which is a city close to my host university during weekend. Surprisingly, I met one Japanese girl and a Dutch girl who knows how to speak Cantonese there. We tried a traditional Dutch snack called Stroopwafel together. It looked like the waffles in HK, but it was a lot thinner and sweeter. It tasted like soft cookies mixed with honey and syrup. A bit too sweet for me, but a great experience!
This was my first Chinese New Year in a Western country. I missed the mood and atmosphere of New Year in HK as most Dutch do not celebrate this festival. I organized a kind of Tuan Nian Rice (團年飯) in order to create a similar New Year atmosphere. Many of my friends gathered at a Chinese restaurant and we drank tea to celebrate. We discussed different ways to celebrate New Year in various places and talked to the boss of the restaurant. What a warm occasion!
This was my first time visiting Amsterdam, which is the capital of the Netherlands. Going to the capital and learning about the country’s history and culture is a must for an exchange student. Therefore, I went to Amsterdam during weekends to discover the urban beauty of the Netherlands.
This photo shows the main canal in Amsterdam, which is one of the iconic scenes of the Netherlands. I hope viewers can also feel the beauty of Amsterdam through this photo.
I went to Utrecht, which is another city close to my host university. I went with a HK classmate from Hong Kong Baptist University. As Miffy is a cartoon character from the Netherlands and Utrecht is its home city, we decided to go there. We learnt more about the Dutch cartoon’s history and Dutch life in the past, as Miffy somehow represents Dutch life.
This was my first time to try a Dutch style meal. Noodles and rice are what I used to eat in Hong Kong. However, bread and sandwiches are what the Dutch tend to eat in the Netherlands. Therefore, I decided to try and be “Dutch” by eating one of their meals. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich, which was bigger than my face! I highly recommended it because you won’t feel hungry for the rest of the day!
I travelled to Leiden – a coastal city in the Netherlands – for the open day at Leiden University. I would like to learn about the differences between other universities in the country. Not only is Leiden University’s campus larger, but the city is also much busier than where I am living (Nijmegen).
This photo is of a canal at Leiden, and the surrounding buildings are colourful and attractive. I felt the energy and youth of the Netherlands after visiting.
Windmills really epitomize the Netherlands. Whenever I tell my friends that I’m on exchange in the Netherlands, they ask if there are windmills everywhere. The answer is no – I need to take a train and bus for at least 2 hours to see windmills. I went to the famous site of windmills, Kinderdijk, which is shown in this photo. It’s a really beautiful site, with fresh air and great scenery! Kinderdijk is a world heritage site, with 19 windmills in total. Ducks and sunshine welcomed me during my visit. I really felt like I am in the Netherlands after this trip.
The yellow wooden shoe that I’m sitting on is a model of a traditional Dutch shoe, called a ‘clog’ or ‘klompen’. Farmers and workers used to wear them because they are warm in winter and cool in summer. They are designed based on the shape of your feet and its hard surface protects you from injuries. Also, the shoes are made from wood or willow, which helps your feet stay dry and allows them to breathe. Patterns and colours differ according to the status of the people wearing them. People may also wear them on various occasions.
I was impressed by the clever design of the shoe as I have never seen a shoe made of wood before. As you can see by my expression, it was a joyous occasion!